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tv   Interview With Adam Bellow  CSPAN  June 30, 2015 9:05pm-9:55pm EDT

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ndustry. i'm in education. i don't mean to be disparaging about your industry but i'll be the man and a mere test. the way you know if you are going to be disrupted and vulnerable is when your prices increase faster than inflation. in in my industry we've tripled tuition my classes no no different than it was 14 years ago. we charge students $6000 to take my class. i class. i teach a hundred and 40 kids every monday night. worse charging them $65000. that's outrageous. it has become a moral issue has become a moral issue and most of it's been taken and in debt. these talented young people is having huge effects. my industry is incredible disruption. i don't know who amongst you does textbooks? wow you are putting your chin up
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and waiting to get clocked. it's almost as outrageous as what i'm charging to teach. textbooks in education we are due. anyway it's going to be a very interesting tenure. thank you for your time. >> i want to thank all of our panelists for being here. i want to thank the eea and the incredible team that makes all the magic happen. i wanna think our audience members and hope you have a great 2015. i hope we can make this innovation work for the future and make it work for all of us. thank you.
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"washington journal" is live every morning. you can can contribute by phone and facebook and twitter. >> here are just a few of our feature program for the three-day holiday weekend on the c-span network. on c-span friday night at 80s strength, radio personalities in new york. then an interview with new york chairman and executive editor on the future of the times. then sunday night at 930 eastern, member of the church committee and former senator on their groundbreaking efforts to reform the committee.
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increasing views of of artificial intelligence could make good jobs absolutely. then on afterwards, history professor on why the bill of rights was created. sunday, live at noon, on in-depth, join in-depth, join our three hour conversation with best-selling author peter schweitzer. he's written over a dozen books. on american history tv on c-span three, friday evening at 630 the 70th anniversary of the united nations with keynote speakers jerry brown, house minority leader and un secretary-general. saturday night at eight, here a brooklyn college lecture. sunday afternoon at four on real america a look back at a 1960
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film about a nationwide search for old circus wagon and the circus museum efforts to restore them. get our complete >> so one of the things we like to do at book tv is go behind the scenes and meet people involved in the publishing industry. today we want to introduce you to adam balogh who is a publisher. where do you work and what do you do? >> currently i'm a book editor of nonfiction books for the past 26 years. i currently work and specialize in publishing books by conservative and political individuals. previously i've worked at other
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places in the industry. i worked at doubleday and diamond and schuster. i started my career at a small intellectual academic crossover called free press. when i started out i was really an academic editor and my job was to go to academic conferences and visit university departments, talk to political science, historians, social science and trying edit their books. over the years some of the people i have worked with include mr. wilson whose books i am proud to publish. jim wilson was one of my intellectual heroes. his book is called the moral sense.
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when jim died a couple years ago and i read one of his one of his students had the moral sense was one of his favorite books and he was most proud of. that was wonderful. i became known for publishing books by conservatives back in the early '90s. i made my first book to deal with the problem of political correctness on campus. i followed that up with a book by david brock who was a conservative. it was a forensic book based on the ne to heal hearing. the major bestseller that i published after that was the bell curve.
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since then books with notes one of the most proud books is called denying the holocaust. we had to twist her arm to publish it because she didn't want to give holocaust denial a forum. she said it's not a good idea to publish a book about them because they want attention and want to be taken seriously. we persuaded her persuaded her that it was an important subject and interestingly enough, she was sued in a british court by david irving of famous holocaust denier and she one. i believe he went to jail and she was very satisfied with that outcome. a few years ago in the early 2000's i published liberal fascism which was a lot of fun. more recently syrup palin's
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sarah palin's book. also a book by peter schweitzer. with many of these authors i publish multiple books. i've been reunited with many of these people as i've moved around from house to house. that's one of of the nice things about long jevity of being an editor. as an editor you have a relationship with your authors and that's very important. when you move houses, you hope they will move with you and follow you from house to house. that has largely been the case and it is very gratifying. it does require patience. editors have to be patient people because it can sometimes take years to get a book out of somebody. a good example is arthur brooks.
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i met him five years ago before he was made president of aei and he had already published a number of interesting books and i was very interested in him. we had a long conversation and he became an institutional figure in washington and was too busy to write books for a while. now finally, five or six years later i have a book by arthur coming out in july. i hope it will open up a new kind of discourse. one that counters the left brain focus of the conservative movement and introduces more a very right blaine movement. element.
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it's a balance it's kind of a book and to the book called a conservative mind. now 50 years later, or what have you and we are publishing the conservative part. arthur's idea is that conservatives and liberal policy go and can be best achieved by conservative needs. it's sort of a brilliant, serve versus book and i'm looking forward to publishing it very much. ted cruz is coming up. i'm sure that will get a lot of attention. these are some of the books i've published in the past and have coming out. >> how did you become us special to specialist in the conservative books question
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marks. >> it was something i set out to do. if someone had told me that that is what i was doing, i might've reconsidered it but i might've diverse of hide myself a bit. i started out as a general interest nonfiction editor. i published a wide variety of academic disciplines history politics, anthropology religion jewish subjects. the conservative books were the ones that were the most successful. within two years or so of working in publishing i had a hit of several books. publishing is not a publishing industry that is not run scientifically. it's not very organized.
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it's sort of like the great barrier reef. it's a very, very complex structure with all kinds of holes and brightly colored fish darting in and route. if you are a writer, you want to find the right publisher and editor. you need help, that's why the agency exists. it's a matchmaking function. it's very difficult to find the right person. and who is the right person? it's the editor who resonates with your book, who who is passionate about your book and who will be your most energetic champion and advocate. that's who you want. it's difficult to find that person. so therefore what happens naturally in publishing is as you get to be known for doing a certain kind of thing, the agent community and behind that the world of authors identify you with someone who does that kind of thing.
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so you get submission in that area. but but it could happen just as well if you're a science editor or a religion editor or whatever it is. the institutional pressure is on you to specialize. for a long time, time, that seemed like a good thing. at a certain point, one can begin to feel the climate. i have not felt that way however because within the world of conservative publishing there is a great deal of variety and genres. of course i'm not limited to publishing conservative books. i also consider publish other types of books. one thing i noticed is is that more and more books by conservative authors are being published on the harper list.
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i think that speaks to a promising development that conservative views are becoming more acceptable to the mainstream. when i started out in this niche there was no presence of conservative books in mainstream publishing. there was only a small sectarian publishing company that was outside the mainstream. we at the free press were engaged in an effort to break down barriers to conservative ideas. it was fresh and exciting and consequential thing to do.
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after some time, after after ten years or so, after we had enough that the large publishing companies woke up and realized that there was in fact a mass market for this type of book. then special interest began to get created and there are now more dedicated to this type of interest. beyond that editors all over town are publishing books by conservatives if they think they will sell. we we are in a completely different competition now. >> you have to agree with your author to be a good editor? >> know, in know, in fact it's better if you don't.
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i would say it's always good for an intellectual editor or a publisher to do the author a service or a challenge for her. even if you do agree with them what's important is that the argument being made are thoughtfully substantiated and expressed in a way that persuade. i don't don't consider myself to be a sectarian editor. i have for a long time thought of myself as somebody who was originally a liberal. in many ways, like many conservatives i am the new york conservative. i grew up here, i'm from new york many of my social
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attitudes are liberal and many people i live amongst are all liberal. i don't like to get involved with them to sharply and i know this is off-topic but it's related because i really am doing it for them. my feeling is, let's put it this way if the upper west side liberals and their on a political journey to write i then felt like plato's philosopher. i left the cave and came to the light. but then what's my obligation to my friends and family to go back
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and bring news to them of another way of looking at things that's what i consider to be my function. i've always thought of myself as bringing news to the outside world if you will to american liberals. there are great powerful institutions in the media like the new york times. unaware to them they sort of all generally agree with each other and they don't think of themselves and other point of views but there a certain kind of institutional afterthought that has developed. the fact is half the country is conservative. i've found over the years that there are many more conservative than you might think. that was my sense of mission.
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although, i would add over the course of the years that i've been doing what i do the surrounding conditions have changed and i don't necessarily think in a positive way. when i i started out, you asked me about controversy and folks that are controversial. of course personally personally and professionally i got a kick out of starting an argument when we published a book. you set your office and in those days you actually had an inbox with physical pieces of paper that would pile up in it and there would be reviews and columns and articles and finally letters written to the editor of small midwestern newspapers rip bonding to your book and it was very satisfying.
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it rang the gong it made an impact. people heard about it. that is what publishing is. my favorite is. my favorite is when people asked me to talk about publishing i say the primal act is martin luther nailing his thesis to the door. you have to imagine, that's what a publisher does. imagine that your martin luther and its 15 whatever and you're sitting in your cold apartment studio and your throat a strategy and you're uncomfortable and fairly passed off. then you say to yourself, what do i do? what am i going to do with this? the world has to know. have to know. so what did he do? he went to the town square and nailed it up for the people to see it that way. that's sort of the spirit of the kind of publishing i like to do. so in the old days it used to
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be possible almost too easy to set off a national controversy around a book. there was that one real platform and everybody was competing to get access to it. there were only three broadcast networks and for major newspapers and some influential magazines. it was one culture. there was a question of whose voice is going to get access and what point of view is going to get access to that platform? over over time as we all have seen that has changed. the culture is no longer unit unitary. there are many many competing voices and outcomes.
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as a has developed, i find it has become increasingly difficult, almost impossible to generate a controversy around a around a book. it has been some years in fact since i found that it was possible to do that. the reason for that is fairly clear. the political media has divided between the fox media on the right and the ms nbc on the left and the people who agree with those points of views and those messages read and listen to what is broadcast or published for them. the political culture of ideas have become, i think it's become polarized and it's been harmful to the country and become an optical to those who want to
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stimulate controversy. but is it the same for broadside books? only conservatives are going to buy these certain things were not going to get the broader audience to buy these audience? >> well that's a very interesting question. it isn't always what it seems to be. the thing the thing that made liberal education successful originally, in my view is when they were making an argument, remember this is a time in the early '90s when there were a lot of people on campus. there was there was a movement to introduce it a multicultural curriculum. they wanted courses that reflected the great diversity and there was a greater demand of diversity of faculty.
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and whether we should be reading miley angelo. not to pick on her. in the world of liberals there was a position that hadn't been brought to play. this was a rift between the radical campus movement and the traditional liberals, the faculty, the people who had been raised and educated and brought up and felt that that had value and wanted to preserve it. these people were somewhat unsupportive of the idea in letting more voices in but the
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idea of genesis in a way were really civilized and influenced of being a good example. so the common view of the conventional middleground liberal is the radicals on the left are basically well motivated and well-intentioned. they have the right idea but they are a little hasty and a little impatient. maybe they are are moving too fast and throwing something away that has value and shouldn't be thrown away. what i found in this is in hindsight, when you publish a controversial book you are getting a war shack of the public mind. then you have to study it and ponder it and interpret it and decide what it means. in this case after long consideration of this response
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it's that when he came along and made an argument, he expressed a point of view that many liberals so privately agreed with but were too timid to express in a faculty meeting. they they didn't wish to take upon themselves that role. they didn't want to be intimidated and ostracized. that's that's often what happens in those settings. so when he came along and made this argument, there was first of all a knee-jerk reaction from the multicultural movement what which created attention for the book and then the conservatives came to it but also many of those middleground liberals who
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notice the book because of the controversy around it and decided to open it up and read it. that's where my role as an editor is critically important because we agreed those were our real audience. those open-minded liberals were our real audience. we were writing a book to persuade them. not to beat up the left although it's fun to beat up the left a little bit, they're asking for it sometimes. there are clowns in both sides on the right as well. but the vast majority of book readers in this industry are educated liberals. so we decided the books should be written in such a way that it could persuade and open minds to the reader.
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that was part of the effort to bring conservative viewpoints into the circle of enlightened opinion. that's what we were trying to accomplish and i think we did accomplish it. so in short and i i still haven't mastered the art of giving a short answer and i apologize for digressing. >> publishing a book like that creates a controversy and generates interest and then brought people to the book and then the book has to stand. it has to stand on its merit. it was my commitment to making sure that every book that i published were written in a way that could persuade the argument
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now we fast forward 25 years and here's a book that takes on a book in an investigative way and doesn't specifically draw any conclusions but we said here's a pattern of activity that looks suspicious. we are saying maybe some legal authority should look into this. what's interesting is in the same way certain people believe
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very strongly that they want to see a reelected president and other people maybe don't like or trust and have.doubts. there were doubts when they first came to washington. it was unclear what their history was. yet there was an offense that was not correct to break rank and criticize. the book provides evidence and is persuasive to any liberal journalists notwithstanding the
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fact that conservatives may not agree, but the facts are the facts. in other words there are books that come along at a certain time that make an argument that somebody would like to hear made and wants to be heard. when it's made it divides opinion in such a way that people have to choose a side. then you find out what people really believe. >> with the peter sweitzer book they had to do some corrections in that book correct? >> every book has errors. i remember years ago do
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remember the book backlash which was all about how women are prevented from advancing in various settings? it was was hugely successful and hugely popular. somebody i know did a catalog of errors in that book and brought it to me and said we should publish a book that catalogs the errors in another book. the the new york times runs corrections every day. they have a large department of checking and oversight but it's almost impossible to publish a book that doesn't require corrections much less when a book is under
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the pressure of time to get out quickly. so it's inevitable that errors will be there. what is distinctive distinctive and special to this case is that there is an apparatus a political apparatus that has been assigned the clinton machine basically has assigned its members to research and study the book and fact check everything in it. this operation was run by my old friend who had it done to him when he published a book about anita hill and then one about hillary back in the '90s. he learned how to do it from the clinton machine. so this is what they do. when david's book was published, as as i recall back in 1994, there was an effort to backcheck
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everything by an adversarial operation and then as i recall they published a long article attacking the book and finding its errors. how many errors were there? three errors in the book. one of them was about the address of the video shot where there was a pornographic video. this is a game. this is how the game is played. obviously we want our books to be accurate. if you bring in it air to our attention we will correct it. the general argument of the book is officiated because there is errors in the book is a miss understanding the nature of investigated journalism as a function. >> he wrote the national review,
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if you can control the use and the meaning of words as well shown in 1984, they cannot be used to show dissenting views or to formulate the thought that might inform such intellectual resistance. the left has always understood the importance of this. >> and your question is? >> explained that. >> while the context, the article which you quote is a cover piece that i published last summer in the national review. it was called let your right brain run free. it was was an article announcing the emergence of a new wing of conservatives of the conservative movement. a cultural wing.
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the story, i'll just very quickly give you the background on this. as i said i've been a nonfiction editor throughout my career but beginning a few years ago, i began to hear from conservative authors of mine who had written novels. they called me up, wrote me and said i've written a novel. would you read it and consider publishing it? so i read a good number of these novels and i talked to my publisher harpercollins about whether they could be published. the upshot of our discussion was, well these novels are a little too sectarian. we tried to publish for the broadest possible audience. so these books books were and i should be clear they are genre novels thrillers political thought spoilers fantasy detective novels or pulp fiction, these were classic instances of the genre with some
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kind of conservative theme or catch. maybe the private i've is a conservative and his commentary is conservative cast. it's not like novels about the keystone pipeline for example, which is one of the up session of the rights today, but a sense or point of view of narrative fiction. at one point he started looking into this and i realized it wasn't just a few writers here and there but scores and hundreds of people who are libertarians who had been
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inspired by the advent of amazon and digital self-publishing technology to write and publish their own. yet they were were having a lot of difficulty finding their natural audience. select came to me and they should create a home on the website as a platform or gathering place for these new conservative fiction writers and so i founded a website that i call liberty island which can be it is a it is a short story magazine or a short fiction magazine written by conservative writers and readers.
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the point of my article in the national review was to make a broader point that there was a resurgence of the conservative right brain that was not just limited to fiction. it was a broader phenomenon that we find across the spectrum of creative endeavor and you find it in popular music film video, graphic arts comics, video games. it's a broad cultural movement and in fact the point of my article is that it amounts to a counterculture. in order to set the stage for this argument i look back at the counter culture of when i grew up and i made the argument that what has begun is a counterculture in those days had
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become the established culture. that now with the nature of things is natural, that establishment excludes points of view, which is does not agree in a certain pressure builds up with people who feel their respect is not being reflected in the national media in popular culture. so a counter cultural energy or spirit arises and that is what animated the new conservative right brain creator. so i wrote to paul's attention in the comment that you quoted really refers to the experience that i had as a young person.
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i told the story of going to a science fiction writers workshop back in 1976 and encountering, for the first time, and i was 19, and i was 19, and i encountered for the first time and ideological point of view. it was progressive. i was told by advocates of this point of view that there were certain words you couldn't use certain ideas you couldn't express, that it was wrong that it was harmful that it was dangerous, and i realized two things. first of all that words do have consequences in language is very important. there is a struggle of the context of words, not just what words are used but what they actually mean and diversity. what does does that mean? it means one thing to me and i might mean another thing to you. we have to argue.
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there also is a power struggle a cultural war if you will going on within the creative arts. i found if conservatives today were unaware and detached from this aspect. i've been an editor for 25 years and published many controversial books in the effort to break down barriers to conservative ideas and perspectives, but i found the conservative movement as a whole had completely ignored the field of culture as if it doesn't matter. well it does matter. so i am trying to and this is
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separate from my day job, my own enterprise, own enterprise, i am trying to participate and to get them to play a role. when i came into the conservative there was a number of institutions that had been created by visionary individuals. people like irvin kristol who was the guy who got my job in publishing. these were people who saw that conservative scholars and academics were being forced out of academic positions or weren't able to teach or gain tenure in american universities. there was an alternative system of institution that needed to be created. at the same time they had to be foundational and endowed to support those things. magazines were created to support the views.
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it was brilliantly successful and i consider myself to be a product in part and a beneficiary in large part of that visionary enterprise. i now am the age or older than my mentors, the people who i consider to to be the grown-ups in my field. so they are gone but i feel if they were here today they would be active in the field of popular culture. they would would be taking the steps necessary to raise an error awareness to create energy and focus and to lead if you will and what what i find is the more i get out of my corporate publishing box and gotten out
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into the world of conservative activists and enterprise, i find find there are many other people working in this area. people who are creating music labels and film companies and doing animation and graphics. but but these people don't talk to each other. i was on a panel in washington recently hosted by the national institute and we had a segment on popular culture. it was me and two guys from the hollywood film industry. the three of us sat on stage for a half hour and talked shop. it was really fun and i learned a lot. the main thing that came out of it, the take away for me was that we in this different industries don't talk to each other enough. the thing that distinguish me and maybe that is something i
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should've set at the beginning of an interview, but but the thing that distinguishes me from most other publishers is that i'm not just in it as a business person. of course i'm in business and i need to pick and choose and publish books that make money. that's very important. i'm at the intersection of ideas and commerce. i'm a capitalist and commerce is very important. if you publish a book that people don't buy, while you made the decision incorrectly and that's not good. beyond that role i really am to some extent part of a larger group of enterprise and getting back to the question of the differences of whether i agree or disagree, it's really not my job as an editor. one of the things i like about being an editor is i don't have to have a
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decision about every question. i have the privilege or luxury to work with people with different opinion and my work involves helping them to make the best argument that they can given the materials they have to work with. it isn't my job to tell them they are wrong. it is my job to help them be more right and be more persuasive. it's a technical skill, the facility that i have so i'm not in ideological conservative. i'm not pushing a particular line. there are there are topics i'm not interested in pushing because they don't appeal to me or i don't identify with. for example i would never have asked and never have published a book about gay marriage. i don't have any problem with
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gay marriage. i have a lot of gay friends and grew up in new york. what does that mean? does that mean i'm not a real conservative? no it means i don't choose to take a stand on that issue. that is not my issue. i have issues i do i do care about and among my friends but in my role as an editor my job is to help you make your best possible argument. in my opinion the conservative movement to the extent i conserve consider myself part of the movement, which i do it's my judgment that if we have certain problems that need to be addressed on the idea side but the big problem i see is the advocation of the field of popular culture. in my capacity of a private citizen and an entrepreneur, i'm i'm trying to do something about that. >> liberty island did i
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get that right another book is an autobiography about your father. >> over to talk about my dad? >> have you asked about reviewing #speemac no one has asked me to review, were talking about in case people don't know my father has a new biography that came out and also a collection of nonfiction. no i have not been asked to review either of those books. the interesting idea but i have read them.


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